Tuesday, 17 March 2015

St. Patty's Day Memories

I don't recall ever doing anything especially noteworthy for St. Patrick's Day as a child. In elementary school, we cut shamrocks out of green construction paper, combed the playground for four-leafed clover and coloured-in leprechauns and pots of gold at the end of rainbows with crayons, later coloured pencils. I remember learning about St. Patrick in school... We may well have made circle streamers and other decorations to display at home and my mom surely baked and dressed a thematic cake but no memories pop out distinctly.
The only St. Patty's Day memory from childhood that I recall with much clarity is one I remember quite fondly. Full of the mystical wonder of childhood on a bright spring morning, walking with my mom and brother down our long, curved, tree-lined, rural Alberta driveway to catch the school bus we speculated about the sneaky habits of the leprechaun. Where did they live around here? How could we set a trap? What would we wish for if we caught one? All while searching for tiny leprechaun footprints in the snow.*
As an adult, I never felt the need to party on St. Patrick's Day, to drink green beer or to get drunk.** The only adult St. Patrick's Day story I have to share is only a SPD story by default. I planned a surprise party for hubby's 30th birthday; it happened to fall on the green holiday. We had some green hats and streamers but nothing over the top. I told him a friend was having a stag and doe party on the day and that they ended up needing his assistance at the last minute with something I couldn't do for some reason. I don't remember the exact lie but I remember he REALLY didn't want to come and I had to pretty much beg until my friend piped up beside me to say she'd pay him. That did the trick. Needless to say, he was surprised.
Purchase Leprecadaver, the leprechaun zombie gnome on Etsy from RevanentFX!
My Irish heritage was something I've always known about though it was never really celebrated within my family like it was in the families of some of my friends. Perhaps that's because my Irish relatives have been in Canada for well over 150 years now. Also, probably, because it was only my mom's paternal side that was Irish and we didn't have much to do with them on a regular basis.

I knew my Irish ancestors came over because of The Potato Famine (I had yet to learn there was more than one famine), that there were two brothers - one who settled on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River and the other who settled on the Ottawa side. Annnnd that's about it. To date, I have a copy of other family members' work on our shared genealogy but have not entirely verified everything for myself, to my own satisfaction nor that of the BCG Standards manual.

Yes, The Asterisks Mean Something

* Yes, spring with snowbanks. Such is weather in Canada and Alberta. Fun, eh?

** I've never been a drinker, to be honest. I'll maybe partake of a daiquiri or a beer or a glass of sangria once in a while but I've never been drunk in my life and don't particularly plan to be... although one New Years Eve at home with hubby I did actually TRY to get drunk. I drank a couple of beer and almost an entire bottle of champagne by myself, but... nada. Nothing happened. No tipsy. No woozy. No hangover-esque feelings the next day. I was disappointed, stupidly, but I've never tried it again. Realistically, I think I'd just find a corner, curl up and go to sleep anyway.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Twitter: Follow Friday Lists - Good or Bad?

I hadn't really thought of the #FollowFriday or #FF list being seen as a (potentially) bad thing, until just now... when I tagged Judy Webster in my #FF tweet and she thanked me graciously but directed me to this post. It made me think!

[If you don't want to be bothered clicking over, the gist is... some people really dislike Follow Friday lists posted to Twitter. The general consensus seems to be that these lists are automated by apps or programs (thus, impersonal) and aimed only at getting more followers].

Right away, I think it's worth noting that not all people who post a list of people to follow on #FollowFriday (#FF) are using an automated service. While I don't usually signal out only one person per week or per tweet, I create all of my lists personally with my own two hands and most of my fingers! Random tweep lists with no discernible meaning have been a pet peeve of mine so I try to include an appropriate and descriptive hashtag along with the people in my #FF list I'd like to mention that week. I choose them because they caught my eye or I just like the person. I try to group tweeps by theme or topic. Sometimes I like to do more than one list - sometimes with a more specialized hashtag, sometimes not.

It's easy to get overwhelmed by Twitter - I did at first too!* - but I think it's meant to be a short, immediate tool for seeing what's going on in general in the world or re certain topics, not a comprehensive news feed or communication device. That's why there's a character limit, a follow limit and the list feature!

With that said, everyone should use it however it works best for them! Of course. I am not the President of the Tweeter or its Tweeps. #DUH

If you don't want to be included or don't want to bother responding or reading tweets you're mentioned in I think that's totally fine. I certainly don't have time to read every tweet by everyone I follow. I follow people who generally post about things I'm interested in. I put a lot of people I don't follow on topical lists that I check periodically. And then I check Twitter and scan whatever tweets happen to be passing by whenever I get a spare moment or am following something Live. If I am really interested in a certain topic, I search for a particular hashtag or keyword. I hardly ever read all of something, let alone everything that goes by... (including the post and comments I was directed to which prompted this post of my own LOL ... which you can devour in its entirety or scan as quickly as you please)!

If someone I follow posts a #FF I may or may not check it out, whether they highlight one person or a list of people. I certainly agree that posting only one Tweep per #FF with a reason WHY they are included CAN be more effective than a list. I've used that option too! I guess it depends on how and why you're using Twitter. And that depends on my mood sometimes too. Also, I just don't always have the time to be more explanatory... or I want to give a shout out to as many people as possible in the time I do have. I generally feel like it's better/nicer/funner** to tag someone than to not. I like it when someone tags me, after all! Even if it's a stupid reason, it's still a reason to smile! But, again, including a reason for a #FF doesn't guarantee a look because Twitter is a fast-paced tool. I think of it as an If-It-Catches-My-Eye type of game.

And I don't think of #FF as a way to bring in my own followers AT ALL. I have no idea why anyone follows me. And, as soon as I stopped worrying about what to post and getting followers, people started following! Go figure! I post links to things that I'm interested in. I comment on my personal life, my professional life. Sometimes I post things for a reason, sometimes on a whim. I don't focus on one particular subject although there are a few I tend to focus on. I post what I want. If you like it, cool. If you don't even see it, cool. If you don't like what you do see, also cool. No one is forcing you to follow me or to read every single one of my tweets.*** If you have someone else you'd prefer to stalk... go for it! Just allow me the same courtesy, please.

So, yeah. I don't think it's rude to not reciprocate a #FF or any type of twitter recognition. But I do see how people can feel that way because I used to as well. Generally, I try to star/favourite, reply or thank people for mentioning me but if I don't get to it or it's too much of a hassle I don't bother. I would like to respond to everyone but then I think about the celebs who have millions of followers and realize they certainly can't be responding to everything and they're not assumed to be rude... so maybe this tool is not meant to be used like that.

To be honest, I initially thought it was kind of rude to be directed to this post because I, too, assumed everyone thought of and used Twitter like I do. But now I understand and appreciate that there are differing viewpoints out there (aren't there always?! We just don't always think about them unless we're forced!)  and I don't feel offended at all. It's a good conversation to have! (Although I'm nervous about the possible comments I might now receive...)

Anyway, however you choose to use Twitter --- please just don't assume everything is automated and, even if it is, remember you have to choose what people or, at the very least, types of people to include in such automated systems (I'm learning this now because I was just investigating one today). A mention takes time and a decision, whether you do it at the time of the post or ahead of time when automating. I personally feel that it is better to be mentioned than not! It's a flattering thing however it happens.

And, for the record, I've been looking into automation thingies because I have family in other time zones who don't get any of my tweets when we're on opposite schedules. So I thought having something automatically repost some of my tweets  when they're awake and I'm asleep (or supposed to be) would be a good thing.

I'm @elle_dee_see in the Tweet Zone!


Yes, The Asterisks Mean Something

* I recall, when I first joined Twitter (waaaaay back before Ashton Kutcher live-streamed his run for the first millionth follower and Perez Hilton was "attacked" by Will.I.Am)... that every morning I would get up and scroll to the bottom of the list of new tweets posted by all the people I followed. I would, religiously, read it allllllllll the way through until I was current again and only had to keep up with the new tweets. I couldn't figure out how people did anything else with their day if they followed more than 10 people and had real obligations!! How could Mr. Kutcher keep up with his million?? ... And why would he want to??

I didn't understand the hashtag... Who decided what funky saying everyone would use? How did people find out which one to use once someone decided???

WTF was a RT anyway??

And then I realized... 

** Dear Spelling Police: I used the word FUNNER improperly on purpose. Sincerely, Your Fellow #WordNerd

*** Only my hubby is legally obligated to listen to and read every single word I write, everywhere, anytime, forever. #joke #LikeHeWouldEvenIf

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Rules for Attending RootsTech

Rule Number One for attending RootsTech -- DO NOT promise to post to your blog every day of the conference. It's just not gonna happen.

Rule Number Two for attending RootsTech -- DO NOT promise to post within any particular time period. If you're like me, post-con germy-germs will overtake your depleted immune system and do their level best to zombify you prematurely. You will need all your strength to defeat these tiny-but-mighty warriors.

Rule Number Three for attending RootsTech - DO write your blog posts about the trip, no matter when you get to them. Because A) You want to document your own experience and B) even though they might not be "on-time" anymore, people who are attending other conferences will find them helpful whenever they find them and co-attendees will appreciate the "flashback".

I'm currently working on Rule Number Three.
Stay tuned!